Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Happy Wednesday! First, I want to thank everyone who texted me, commented on the blog or my Instagram post, or reached out in any other way about my blog post last week. I was nervous to post it but also felt so relieved to share all that and get it all out there. I want my blog to be a positive space and I look forward to sharing much more about intuitive eating and body love in the future. I also want to post more about personal life stuff since I used to do that a lot more! Life isn’t JUST about food, right?!

Yet here I am with a recipe ūüėČ I know it’s summertime and all you want is cool, refreshing foods, but this is a great comfort meal for any time of the year! It was so easy and has a lot of flavor. It also made a ton so it’s a great freezer meal for busy days when you don’t have time to cook. The original recipe also gives a vegetarian¬†option of using all chickpeas instead of chicken – I might have to try that next time!

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from: fANNEtastic food

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3¬†tbsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 15-oz can of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • Brown rice or naan, yogurt to top (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot and stir. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  2. Serve over brown rice or with naan. Top with plain yogurt and extra spice if desired!

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Welcome to the enchilada casserole – the perfect busy girl’s Mexican comfort meal. By turning the enchiladas into a casserole, you save tons of time that you would have spent rolling each enchilada individually and can better use that time to do homework, do your hair, vacuum the living room….all those things I wish I had¬†more time to do. Basically you take all the ingredients, layer them in a baking dish, and throw it in the oven. So easy and relatively mess-free. This is also a great vegetarian meal; since it’s so hearty and filling, you won’t even miss the meat! But don’t worry, there’s plenty of cheese. You always need cheese.¬†ūüôā

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Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 20¬†oz enchilada sauce
  • 18 small corn tortillas
  • 1 1/4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and sliced into small cubes
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can green chilis, diced (not drained)
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Salsa, hot sauce, and sour cream for toppings, if desired

Directions:

1.)¬†Heat oven to 375 F. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and top with 6 tortillas, evenly spaced (might overlap). Top with one more cup of the sauce, a third of the squash, a third of the beans, and 1 cup of the cheese, spreading all evenly. Repeat this layering two more times, saving the final cup of cheese. The baking dish might be full but that’s ok!

2.) Cover with foil and bake for one hour or until squash is tender. Then uncover, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving, then top with desired toppings.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Lightened-up Ranch Dressing

I LOVE buffalo sauce. I find it funny that I used to hate anything spicy, and now I’m buying jars of jalapenos and Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce like it’s going out of style. Oh how things change! I also love my salads, so I figured why not combine my two loves into one? I prefer¬†making homemade ranch dressing because it’s much healthier, I know all the ingredients, and I can make it lactose-intolerant friendly. Store-bought ranch (even the ranch seasoning packets) almost always have buttermilk as an ingredient, so I have to stay away from that. Not¬†everyone with¬†lactose intolerance can handle yogurt, but it doesn’t give my stomach any issues, so I used¬†yogurt as the base for this dressing.¬†It’s so yummy and tastes even better once it sits in the fridge overnight! This is one of those “I am claiming this is a recipe but it’s really a handful of things thrown together to suit my tastes” type of recipes.¬†Which means you can adapt it to match your tastes too – like it less spicy? Use mild buffalo. Want to make more chicken? Just up the amount of sauce when baking. Like your dressing thicker? Use more yogurt. Go wild!

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Buffalo Chicken Salad with Lightened-up Ranch Dressing

Adapted from: The Skinny Fork

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Sauce (I like hot!)
  • 1 lb. salad mix
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tbsp milk (I use soy)
  • 1-2 tbsp dried dill flakes
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Spray a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Lay out tenderloins and smother in buffalo sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Let cool and shred chicken.

2.) To make the dressing, combine the yogurt, mayo, milk, dill, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together. Feel free to add more of any ingredient as necessary, adding more milk to thin it or more yogurt/mayo to thicken. Put in a jar or container in the fridge; it will last about a week!

3.) In a large bowl, make your salad! Top salad mix with a handful of tomatoes, diced pepper and cucumber, and 1 tbsp each of sunflower seeds and blue cheese crumbles. Top with 1/4 cup of shredded chicken and the amount of dressing you would like. Enjoy!

Asian Peanut Chicken

So this recipe was sort of a last-minute experiment, but somehow those always end up tasting the best!¬†I wanted a protein/veggie combo for lunches this week, rather than my usual salad. So I decided on roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and some sort of chicken. I had recently seen a Pinterest recipe for a peanut sauce on noodles, so I figured “why not try making that with chicken instead?” Let me just say it is SO YUMMY and tastes like something you would get for take out, but much healthier. The sauce is so peanutty, yet a little salty and spicy, with the perfect consistency – even reheated. You could switch up the protein, make it over rice, quinoa, zucchini noodles, veggies, or serve with veggies and potatoes like I did! I like meals that I can make quickly yet also customize – since I tend to crave different things every other minute ūüôā

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Asian Peanut Chicken

Adapted from: Kelley and Cricket

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sweet chili sauce (or sriracha)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Directions:

1.) Over medium heat, melt butter in a skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent.

2.) Add olive oil and chicken cubes to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium low and add peanut butter, vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, maple syrup, and sweet chili sauce. Stir until chicken is fully cooked.

3.) Remove from¬†heat and add sesame oil. Stir again and add another tbsp soy sauce, if you’d like it to be a little more salty!

Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Pizzadillas

Ladies and gentlemen, I present…the pizzadilla. Where pizza¬†meets the quesadilla in a¬†delicious, cheesy, heavenly combination that’s perfect for dunking in marinara. The best part is that it can be ready in about 10 minutes! Go crazy with whatever pizza toppings you like…I picked my go-to combo of chicken, feta, and spinach and added¬†some extra tomatoes and garlic. Holy yum. I used brown rice tortillas which I found at Trader Joe’s…I usually use whole wheat, but these had less ingredients so I figured I would try them. They are less soft than regular tortillas, which worked perfectly here; it made the pizzadillas more crunchy and crispy. I made them in my quesadilla maker, which is basically a Mexican George Foreman grill that puts the indentations into the quesadilla so you know where to cut it. So quick and easy to make! These would be great as appetizers too; you could make a bunch of different combinations and have them out for people to enjoy. Or you could eat them all yourself, like I did here. Whatever¬†your heart (and stomach) desires!

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Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Pizzadilla

Ingredients:

  • 2 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza “toppings” of choice!

Directions:

1.) Cook pizza toppings (I sauteed the veggies and added cooked chicken) or use them cold. Take 1 tortilla and lay it on a plate. Spread a thin layer of marinara on the tortilla and add a sprinkling of mozzarella. Add pizza toppings and sprinkle with more mozzarella. Put other tortilla on top and place in quesadilla maker, pressing top down, or cook in a skillet, flipping once cheese starts melting.

2.) While pizzadilla is cooking, heat a small bowl of marinara sauce in microwave. When cooked, let pizzadilla cool, then cut into 6 triangles. Serve hot and dip in marinara!

Chickpea, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad with Pesto

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I had a great time catching up with friends and family, relaxing and enjoying some delicious food and drinks! Although it was in the 50s in New England, we still got into the holiday spirit ūüôā Now that I am back at work and back “to normal,” I was ready to make something light to eat after the holiday feasting! I had found this¬†recipe on Pinterest¬†and decided it would be the perfect way to switch up my normal lunch salads. I added avocado because I think avocado makes everything better, and it reminded me of the avocado, mozzarella and tomato salad I made for a party this summer that was a huge hit. But this salad was delicious without avocado as well, in case you aren’t a fan, and let me know if you think of other ways to jazz it up too!

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Chickpea, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad with Pesto

Adapted from: Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:

  • 30 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cartons grape tomatoes, cut in half (I only used one and thought it wasn’t enough!)
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 8 oz mozzarella “pearls”
  • 5 small avocados (optional)

Directions:

1.) Mix everything except avocados in a large bowl. Portion into 5 containers.

2.) If using avocado, dice and add to the salad the day you plan to eat it, then mix. Add salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info Without/With Avocado (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 342/ 494
Fat 16.4 g/ 34 g
Fiber 9.3 g/ 12.6 g
Carbs 30 g/ 36.4 g
Sodium 792 mg/ 792 mg
Protein 17 g/ 18.6 g

Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Red Pepper

I suppose I should start by saying, yes, I am alive…I haven’t posted in almost a month! Life has been crazy with work and school and all sorts of other things, so cooking new recipes has fallen on the backburner. I’ve been making lots of easy dishes that I’ve already posted on here, just because I haven’t had time to be adventurous. But this week I found time!

A few weeks ago I purchased the Skinnytaste Cookbook, which was written by Gina Homolka, the genius behind the Skinnytaste blog. I’ve always loved her recipes because she lightens up meals but still makes them taste amazing! She also makes a lot of Italian food lighter, which is a favorite of mine. You should definitely pick up her cookbook; everything looks mouth-wateringly good and there are appetizers, entrees, desserts, the whole 9 yards! I’ve been meaning to start making some of her recipes but hadn’t had time, so this week I found one that was quick and easy but looked delicious (and it was). Here it is!

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Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage, Kale, and Red Pepper

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 oz (6 links) Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 6 cups baby kale**
  • 13.25 oz (1 box) whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to taste)

Directions:

1.) Bring large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

2.) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Heat olive oil, then add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until soft, then add the sausage, breaking it into small pieces. Cook until sausage is lightly browned.

3.) Add in baby kale and cover the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook until kale is wilted.

**Use baby kale or cut the “stem” off regular kale! I had never cooked with kale before and I just used regular kale without cutting it, and the stem tastes bitter. So don’t make my mistake!

4.) Add cooked pasta to the skillet (or use a big pot if the skillet isn’t big enough). Turn to medium-high heat. Mix everything together and add 1/3 of the pasta water and stir. Add more water if it seems dry.

5.) Add parmesan, salt, pepper, and red paper, to taste, mixing everything together. Serve and top with a sprinkle of cheese!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 418
Fat 8 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 7 g
Carbs 59 g
Sodium 858 mg
Protein 30 g